News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association (BPA) has launched a series of activities to mark National Pharmacy Week celebrating the invaluable role played by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in patient care.

Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association President, Melissa Levy, said: “This week we recognize the powerful impact our community of professionals has on the care of patients in a range of healthcare settings.  Pharmacists deliver a vital role in the health treatment process both within the hospital, and in outpatient settings. We wish to issue a call to Bermuda’s young people, who may have a passion for science and medicine, to consider a rewarding career in pharmacy.  Our dedicated membership will be visiting schools to educate students on what they may expect should they pursue a future in pharmacy.”

The BPA President outlined three key messages the membership wants to convey to the public during the industry awareness blitz:

·        Raise awareness of the importance of the evolving role of the pharmacist in health care and ensuring optimal patient outcomes.

·        Educate the public on the range of specialist functions performed by the pharmacist and pharmacist technician each day.

·        Engage and educate Bermuda’s young people on the viability of a career in pharmacy as the island is always in search of qualified pharmacists.

The critical role of the pharmacist

Within the healthcare ecosystem, pharmacists are the experts on drugs and medication which complete the health treatment process. While doctors diagnose and prescribe, pharmacists ensure the patient gets the correct treatment at a safe dose with minimal adverse effects and interactions. Without this critical function patient conditions may worsen, or potentially suffer adverse events. People’s lives and the quality of life are dependent on this and supports the work of the doctors and nurses.

The duties and function of the pharmacist

Pharmacists dispense prescribed drugs which is a very precise and involved process that can take a few minutes up to several hours per prescription. Dispensing of drugs is a precise, technical process that must be supported by careful analysis of a dynamic range of patient considerations. From patients’ medical history to possible interactions and conflicts with other medication, to potential side effects and dietary restrictions, the pharmacy team must assess each prescription in relation to the specific profile of each patient. Moreover, the pharmacist will communicate regularly with patient treatment providers if they identify any discrepancies or conflicts to ensure patients receive the best possible treatment. 

Once patients receive their diagnosis and prescription, they often interact with their pharmacists more frequently than their primary care physician, and as such, the pharmacist will develop a rapport with the patient. Pharmacists educate patients on medicine, usage and the disease itself, and alert them to potential side effects.

Since May 2022, the coronavirus vaccine has been available to persons 18 years and older through participating pharmacies that completed vaccine administration training. As Bermuda continues to live safely with Covid, vaccines are essential to our success. Stakeholder participation provides the country’s healthcare sector with an accessible, efficient way to ease the burden of covid vaccine administration from the Bermuda Government and expand the vital role of pharmacists. Pharmacists also play an important role in managing the dispensary, controlling inventory, and ensuring medication is safely stored and maintained. 

A career in pharmacy

Qualified pharmacists are always in demand in Bermuda’s healthcare sector. Accordingly, BPA encourages Bermuda’s students with an interest in healthcare and science, to consider the pharmacist career track. While retail pharmacists are often the most high-profile category, there are also job opportunities in the hospital as a specialist pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians play a key role assisting pharmacists in various settings in providing patient care. Additional job opportunities are available in research, drug manufacture, or medical drug marketing for pharmaceutical companies. BPA provides academic scholarships to students who have completed their first year of pharmaceutical studies.

National Pharmacy Week Activities in Bermuda include:  

·        Sunday, October 16 – Collaboration with Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB) for a Park and Beach Clean-up

·        October 17 and 19 –BPA Pharmacist & Pharmacy Technician Career Talks at Cedar Bridge and The Berkeley Institute

·        Wednesday, October 19 – Radio interview on Magic 102.7

·        Thursday, October 20 – Pharmacy Technician Appreciation Day

·        Friday, October 21 – Patient Appreciation Day – All local pharmacies will recognize their pharmacy patients with special gifts, offers and/or education

·        SaturdayOctober 22 – Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association Dinner. A raffle will be held with all proceeds donated to The Open Airways, a charity that assist persons with Asthma and COPD

ABOUT THE BPA

The Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association was formed in 1978 and currently has within its membership 63 practicing pharmacists and 3 non-practicing pharmacists. With the vision of improving Bermuda’s health through excellency in Pharmacy practice, the association seeks to empower its members to be leaders in health care by building proficiency through professional development, lobbing the BHEC/ Ministry of Health in improving industry standards and best practices, encouraging innovation and community service whilst ensuring organizational effectiveness and sustainability. For more information email BPA executive team at bpabermuda@gmail.com

Top Feature Photo Supplied: Melissa Levy BPA President